Best Strategic War Movies

Feb 2018
242
US
I'm most interested in war movies that show why the wars/battles were actually won, where they focus on the key people that really made it happen. I can tolerate historical inaccuracy or ambiguity to a degree: Oliver Stone's Alexander was better than I expected to be honest. But there has to be some really good ones out there?

Modern western movies, ignoring their hilarious gross historical inaccuracies, seem to focus on individual or squad level heroics that were ultimately trivial in the overall conflict. Saving Private Ryan is an obvious example. That's cool stuff, but not my cup of tea. 300 was also a super marketed "movie" of a battle that honestly wasn't all that important, while there was no equivalent of Themistocles and Salamis: the real heroes of that war.

In particular I'm curious about foreign movies of which there'd be english subtitles. Warrior of God looks pretty cool from the scope, but who knows. China has tons of wonderful wars to use, but I know little about their movie scene. Mongol: The rise of Genghis Khan was ok but not great - obviously that's a tough one to get right.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,573
Dispargum
If you don't mind historical inaccuracy, "A Bridge Too Far" is mostly told from the point of view of generals and other senior officers. "Tora Tora Tora" is also mostly seen through the eyes of politicians and senior military officers. In "Midway" characters like Nimitz, Spruance, Yamamoto, and Nagumo enjoy major screen time. All three movies tell you why the forces are moving around the way that they are. "Ike: Countdown to D-Day" shows a general and his staff planning a major battle although there is a lot of emphasis on the politcal and diplomatic issues of an alliance rather than on tactical or operational issues.

Two movies about the Cuban Missile Crisis, "Thirteen Days" and "The Missiles of October" both show how a president and his advisors deal with a crisis on the brink of war. The latter is, in my opinion, the better movie.
 
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Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Are you interested in tactics as well?

Gettysburg is decent if you can temporarily suspend disbelief at some of the soldiers being overweight & middle-aged. The film used reenactors for the extras.

Most of the battle scenes however have a fair amount of historical accuracy.



Chamberlain (knowing that his men were out of ammunition, his numbers were being depleted, and his men would not be able to repulse another Confederate charge) ordered his men to equip bayonets and counterattack. He ordered his left flank, which had been pulled back, to advance in a 'right-wheel forward' maneuver. As soon as they were in line with the rest of the regiment, the remainder of the regiment would charge akin to a door swinging shut. This simultaneous frontal assault and flanking maneuver halted and captured a good portion of the 15th Alabama.[16] While Chamberlain ordered the advance, Lieutenant Holman Melcher spontaneously and separate to Chamberlain's command initiated a charge from the center of the line that further aided the regiment's efforts.[17][18]

During their retreat, the Confederates were subjected to a volley of rifle fire from Company B of the 20th Maine, commanded by Captain Walter G. Morrill, and a few of the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, who had been placed by Chamberlain behind a stone wall 150 yards to the east, hoping to guard against an envelopment. This group, who had been hidden from sight, caused considerable confusion in the Confederate ranks.
Little Round Top
 
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